Just finished watching 20/20. The majority of the program was about two separate murderers who claim that watching "Dexter" made them do it. For those who do not know, "Dexter" is a drama on Showtime about a serial killer of serial killers. It has been on several years. It is quite a fascinating show.
Anyway, it was being debated on 20/20 if fiction could create reality; could a book or movie or TV show influence an individual and turn them into a killer or rapist or bank robber... After all, look at all those delusional people who read "Catcher In The Rye" and tried to emulate Holden Caulfield; Son-of-Sam, Mark David Chapman, John Hinckley, Jr. Listening to "Rap" is said to turn some people into women beaters, gang bangers, and killers. Comic books, back in the 1950s, was blamed for corrupting the youth. So was Rock and Roll. And look what happened when "Portnoy's Complaint" made the best sellers chart. People couldn't keep their hands off it.
There may be a seed of truth in the idea of being possessed by fiction. I can use myself as an example. Ever since I read "The Cat In The Hat" as a child, I have been trying to balance fishbowls atop closed umbrellas. I have long lost the tally of dead goldfish and shattered bowls caused by my compulsion. I grow weary of toting this bumbershoot with me everywhere I go, constantly seeking fresh goldfish bowls. The number of friends and family members I have alienated due to my obsession is mind boggling, and I dare never enter a pet shop. I don't believe it possible to successfully balance a bowl of goldfish at the tip of an umbrella, yet I am compelled to keep trying. Damn you, Dr. Seuss!
Back to the 20/20 show. John Carpenter, king of the horror movie genre, claimed movies and such cannot preoccupy an individual to the point of changing their nature. Then a Doctor of some sort stated that it is very possible for a work of fiction to spark a change of morality. Since they negated each other, the issue remains unresolved. Well, you know which way I lean in the matter.
Once again: Damn you, Dr. Seuss!